You’ve read it in all the influencer articles, you’ve heard it at conferences and in meetings, and you’ve listened to it through podcasts for ages now. Content is king. And, it doesn’t matter if you’re a business- or customer-facing industry, you must have content because it reigns supreme for the Google. But not just any content will do. It must be high-quality content that solves the user’s issues. The majestic, sparkling unicorn of all content. Even when that user is another business. So, how is this done? How can you compete in a world with content that is for a business, by a business? That’s where we come in with our handy-dandy B2B Content Marketing Survival Guide.
B2B Content Marketing: What Does It Even Mean
Business to business. That’s all B2B means. In the context of B2B content marketing, you’re writing about what your business can offer another business. Maybe you’re a business that sells office equipment, and you’re trying to reach markets that need office equipment. How do you do that organically? Long gone is the era of door-to-door sales. Now, we have the world wide web at our disposal, opening more doors than ever before. Your online assets such as your website, email campaigns, and social platforms become your virtual army salespeople tasked with not allowing the doors to slam in your face. Optimizing your content in all those media to capture and retain sales is what your goal is. Well, it’s what it should be, at least.
B2B Content Strategies Relate To Goals
Your business needs a goal for content marketing, and related content marketing strategies to help you meet that goal.
Without a goal and strategies, you don’t know where you’re trying to go. Your goal, as a B2B company, is likely either to generate leads (that you’ll hand off to a sales team), or sales (if you can sell directly to your customers without a salesperson’s intervention). Another goal could be to build awareness for your company (especially in the early stages of your business). Or you could be looking for something else or in-between.
Whatever your goal is, codify it. Write it down. Make everyone in your company aware that that’s what you’re trying to do with your content marketing efforts. And if you can’t articulate your goal, how can you get your team working in the same direction as you? This is a key part of any marketing strategy development, and it goes the same for content marketing.
You Need Content Marketing Strategy
Some things you need to think about in order to develop your strategies include:
- Decide what website platform you’ll be using. WordPress is a great starting point. Or, do you have a dev team ready to website using another suite of tools?
- Pinpoint who your target audience is. Create a set of customer personas, so you know who you’re talking to across all your platforms.
- What is your sweet spot? What is the subject you have the most authority on? (Hopefully it’s what your business is about.)
- What are the events that trigger potential customers to look for your solution? Do you know what your potential customers are looking for and why?
- What are they keyphrases you need to hit with your content? There are many free keyword analyzers out there: Moz and Google are two of our faves.
- What does your company brand and communications sound like? Have you developed a company brand voice? Most B2B brands should sound expert in their content, even if their voice is more casual and fun.
- What are your competitors doing? Look to them for some inspiration (positive and negative), but definitely find your own voice and types of content.
When writing your content, whether it’s a blog post or a FB post, some key things to ask yourself are:
- Is your content credible/reliable/factual?
- How does the content impact the user?
- Is the content of high quality?
- What makes your content different from everyone else in your space?
- Are you being consistent?
- Are you taking into account all parts of the buyer’s journey funnel? Is your content parallel to your user’s interest?
- Is your content encouraging customers to take action or are they yawning and looking elsewhere?
- Your company may be boring but is your content?
- Is your drip campaign nurturing your leads?
- Is everything that you’re doing actionable?
- Most importantly, has your content educated your customer?
Now that you know what direction you’re headed, create an editorial calendar and plot out what your content writing is going to produce, when it’s going to be done, and where it’s going to be shared. This will hold everyone involved in the content marketing process accountable, and it will also keep you organized and focused.
Your Storytelling Needs to Be Compelling…
Yet, your stories also need to answer questions. Your articles must be engaging, yet informative. So how can you accomplish all of that? You must guide your buyer on their journey. You’re like the cruise director, laying the day out for the travelers, so they don’t have to think, they just need to do. That’s essentially what you need to do when creating your content. Tell the buyer what they need to know, and why they need your product. Create an a-ha moment so huge that it leaves them no choice but to jump in and buy what you’re smelling if you smell what we’re cooking.
You need to prove to whomever is reading your information that your service or product can and will solve all their problems. Even the problems they’ve yet to discover!
Atomize Your Content
With each piece of content that is created, you have the potential to turn it into many related content pieces. One blog post can also become an infographic, an ebook, an email series, and a bunch of social posts. This is called content atomization. It’s a highly efficient way to get a whole bunch of content out of one blog post – like weeks, if not months, of content!
Instead of trying to figure out the best place for a piece of content, why not just post it everywhere in different forms?
Measure Your Success
Analytics are key to any content marketing process, because you need to know if your content marketing efforts are working. You can use Google Analytics and Search Console, both free Google tools used for analytics. Through your analytics platform, pay attention to your:
- Page views: What are your most popular pages?
- Bounce rate: How long are viewers staying on your site?
- Inbound links (usually called Referrers in analytics): Who is linking to your site? Are they high ranking, relevant domains? If yes, that’s great for your search visibility!
The most important metrics are the ones that grow your business. Are you generating leads? Gaining more email subscribers? Getting more likes and followers on your social media platforms? If all your numbers are going up, this is an indication that what you’re doing is working.
We’d love to hear about your B2B content marketing efforts. Please drop us a note in the comments or tweet at us @crackerjackmktg.
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